Minister for Social Services and Public Health is urging more action to restrict the advertising of junk food to children.
The Minister’s letter follows the publication of the Committee of Advertising Practice’s regulatory statement setting out a new framework for food advertising to children.
The framework prohibits the advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar in non-broadcast media aimed at children, such as such as online, in social media, in cinemas and on billboards. It also allows licensed characters and celebrities popular with children to be used in advertisements for healthier foods.
While these moves are welcome, they do not go far enough to contribute significantly to tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity. The new rules will only prohibit product advertising in media where children make up 25% or more of the audience.
Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans, said:
“While the new measures announced by the Committee of Advertising Practice are to be welcomed, they simply do not go far enough.
“Current TV advertising rules are limited to programmes specifically targeted at children. But, as we know, children do not just watch children's programmes and channels. The same is true for non-broadcast media such as online gaming and video sharing websites, meaning even after the implementation of the new rules many children will continue to be exposed to advertising of unhealthy products.
“Given the scale of the obesity problem we face throughout the UK, the Welsh Government is continuing to call for a ban on advertisement of foods high in fat, salt or sugar across all media, including television, which may be viewed by our children.
“I urge the Secretary of State for Health to take strong action and to support a ban.”